After four restful months in the Phoenix area, downtime together gave way to busy-ness. We crossed a number of things off our to-do list and hit the road, thankful for the time we had with family and with our friends at the Commemorative Air Force — and appreciative of the many beautiful sunsets we got to see.
While stationary, we took advantage of having the same address for more than a few weeks and ordered additional supplies from Amazon, as well as picking some up from local stores. As a result, we faced the challenge of finding homes for all of our new additions, lengthening the process of packing and getting everything ready for travel. We somehow managed to squeeze everything in.
Last year, we did a lot of moochdocking. This year, we plan to do more boondocking. In preparation, we bought and installed two more Renogy 160-watt solar panels to increase our power supply. To support the added intake, we swapped our two Renogy 12-volt, 100-amp lithium iron batteries for three BigBattery 12-volt, 170-amp lithium iron phosphate batteries. The advantage of our new ones is more amp hours, and they won’t charge if the temperature is below freezing.
The compressor on the dorm fridge in our outdoor kitchen died, and we decided not to replace it. Instead, we chose to use the space differently. We ordered some plastic drawers to organize our paper plates and plastic utensils, and we bought an AC/DC cooler to use in place of a refrigerator. This gives us more flexibility for keeping food and drinks cold during travel and excursions.
Addressing Maintenance Issues
We also took care of a number of things that needed attention inside and outside our coach. We resealed a mirror on our closet door, cleaned our windows and screens, touched up blemishes in our wooden furniture, and resealed holes under our rig, replacing temporary duct tape fixes with long-lasting, waterproof Gorilla Glue tape.
Gulliver enjoyed some spa treatment: a fuel filter replacement and some grease added to the trailer hitch. He’s still in need of a wash before our big journey begins.
Tying Up Loose Ends
One of my goals before leaving the Valley of the Sun was to secure a job. God provided me with six freelance clients, all of which have been keeping me quite busy and contributing much-needed income to replenish our depleted savings.
In addition, I accepted an offer to become the full-time blog managing editor for a California-based tech company and am looking forward to that. Bob is taking good care of me to make sure I can keep up with all of my jobs. And, to make it easier to do my work, my dad helped create a makeshift keyboard tray on top of my desk drawer to reduce strain on my shoulders and neck.
We’ve traded views of the Superstition Mountains for looks at the Gila Mountains in Yuma, Arizona, as we gear up for this year’s cross-country trek. We’re enjoying spending time with my parents, who moved back to Arizona after we visited them in South Dakota last year.
While I work, Bob has ample opportunity to address other things on Tagalong. For example, he’s rigging up piping for a new propane heater we picked up that won’t need to draw electricity while we’re boondocking.
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This is the travel blog of Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong. We live on the road full time, enjoying all the adventures that come our way.